AIRPORTS SERVING ST. PETE/CLEARWATER
The St. Pete/Clearwater area is served by two major airports - St. Petersburg-Clearwater International (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TIA). Both airports offer many non-stop flights from cities across the nation to the Gulf Coast.
Please note: a road construction project is underway around PIE in preparation for the Gateway Expressway Project (creating two elevated tolled roadways to reduce traffic congestion in the area). It’s unlikely that you’ll experience any significant delays due to the construction, but please plan a little extra travel time to and around PIE until the project is completed in late 2021.
DRIVING TIPS FOR ST. PETE/CLEARWATER
Driving around St. Pete/Clearwater is easy. Roads generally follow a numerical grid system, with avenues running east-west and streets running north-south. For example, Sunken Gardens in St. Pete is located at 1825 4th Street North. This means it is located on 4th Street North at 18th Avenue North.
TRANSPORTATION IN CLEARWATER & CLEARWATER BEACH
Jolley Trolley: This vintage-style trolley is a unique way to visit Clearwater Beach, Sand Key and nearby cities, including Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs. The Beach and Coastal routes run seven days a week and all trolleys are ADA accessible. Visit the website for regular and unlimited daily ticket fares.
Free Rides Clearwater Beach: If you’re near Clearwater Beach, check out Free Rides Clearwater Beach, a company that operates open-air vehicles and minivans. Many visitors use the service so that they can enjoy a cocktail with dinner, or arrive at the beach without worrying about a parking spot. Even though this is a free service, it’s customary to give the driver a nice tip.
Clearwater Ferry: Get out on the water and get around the area, too! The Clearwater Ferry provides transportation to downtown Clearwater, Clearwater Beach Marina and Dunedin. Because parking can be challenging at Clearwater Beach on the busiest days, some visitors choose to park for free in downtown Clearwater and “ferry over” to Clearwater Beach. The Dunedin route (reservations needed) is a great way to enjoy a variety of restaurants, breweries and shops. Check the website for route and ticket information.
TRANSPORTATION IN ST. PETE
Downtown Looper: Hop aboard the bright red-and-yellow Downtown Looper for a free trip connecting you to all the major museums and attractions in downtown St. Pete. The Downtown Looper route operates Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m. to midnight; Saturdays 8 a.m. to midnight; and Sundays 8 a.m to 10 p.m.
Cross Bay Ferry: This seasonal high-speed ferry between downtown St. Pete and Tampa starts service again in November 2019. Check the website for up-to-date information on the ferry schedule.
Coast Bike Share St. Pete: If you’d rather bike around town, check out Coast Bike Share! You’ll find many convenient bike “hubs” to pick up or return a bike throughout St. Pete. Simply register using the Social Bicycles mobile app. Next, enter your account number and PIN on the bike’s keypad. You’ll soon be ready to ride. (Don’t forget to return your bike.)
TRANSPORTATION IN ST. PETE BEACH
Central Avenue Looper: The Central Avenue Trolley route offers round-trip services from Bay Shore Drive to St. Pete Beach/Pass-a-Grille. Check the website for operating hours and fares. Seniors and passengers with disabilities ride at a discounted rate.
Suncoast Beach Trolley: Explore St. Pete/Clearwater’s beach communities stretching from Clearwater Beach to Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, John’s Pass, Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach and Pass-a-Grille. You can board the trolley at the Park Street Terminal in downtown Clearwater, or at any trolley stop along the beachfront route. Trolleys arrive every 20 to 30 minutes between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Check the website for ticket fares (tip: affordable full-day unlimited ride passes are also available). Note that children age five or younger can ride free with an adult.
Ridesharing services are easy and affordable ways to travel around town. It’s almost second nature these days to use your phone to “call” an Uber or Lyft. Download the apps before you arrive in St. Pete/Clearwater so you’re all set to request your ride when you get here.
PARKING IN ST. PETE/CLEARWATER
Parking access and cost varies depending on where you are in the area. St. Pete, for example, has several parking garages that offer easy access to the downtown area. If you decide to use street parking, you’ll find that many downtown St. Pete streets have metered parking; the easiest way to use the meters is to download the ParkMobile app on your phone, but you can also use a credit card or coins to pay. Find more information on parking in downtown St. Pete here.
Similar to St. Pete, you’ll find that some parking is metered in downtown Clearwater - you may pay by coin, credit card or the ParkMobile app. Downtown Clearwater also has parking garages and paid parking lots available. Find more information here.
Parking is free throughout the cities of Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Safety Harbor so grab any spot you find. Near the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, expect to pay at a parking lot.
If you want to find a parking spot near one of our beautiful beaches, check out our tips on where to park here.
Walking is one of the best ways to enjoy sightseeing and sunshine in St. Pete/Clearwater! Here are some ultra-walkable areas to explore.
Tarpon Springs: Located at the northern end of the St. Pete/Clearwater area, Tarpon Springs boasts a truly authentic Greek culture with many historical and architectural treasures. Visit Dodecanese Boulevard for the famous Sponge Docks district and fabulous Greek cuisine at Mykonos or Hellas. Pop by Tarpon Avenue, the area’s main street, which features many restaurants and shops.
Palm Harbor: Tiny-but-cute downtown Palm Harbor is a nostalgic throw-back to a simpler time. Check out 11th Street between Nebraska Avenue and Florida Avenue for your pick of local restaurants, watering holes and shops. Fireside Pizza Cafe is a friendly little spot with inside and patio dining (bring your pup). Check out the Thirsty Marlin for a tiki bar atmosphere with live music several days a week.
Dunedin: Enjoy Dunedin’s small-town charm as you stroll through its delightful Main Street. Take a walk or bike ride along the Pinellas Trail. Stop at family-owned restaurants (some dog-friendly, such as Skip’s Bar & Grill) and check out the cute shops. Or meet new friends and enjoy a cold beer at one of the seven breweries within a one-mile radius here.
St. Pete: One of Florida’s best cities to explore on foot, St. Pete is full of fun and local flavor. Discover funky Central Avenue with its many street murals, indie cafes and shops. Upscale Beach Drive and the glistening St. Pete waterfront are perfect places to take a stroll.
Pass-a-Grille: This quaint, historic downtown close to the Gulf of Mexico and Boca Ciega Bay is filled with eclectic shops and restaurants. Check out super-cute 8th Avenue with shops such as Dody Boutique, carrying stylish beachwear and swimwear. And be sure to have a drink and a grouper sandwich at the Hurricane, a local landmark.
Gulfport: Check out Gulfport’s waterfront restaurants and pubs along Shore Boulevard South, as well as nearby cross-streets for plenty of charming dining, gallery and shopping options. This tropical little town is chock-full of events, too (don’t miss the annual GeckoFest).